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Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Heidfeld expects more overtaking

Nick Heidfeld
Heidfeld has finished second seven times in 152 Grands Prix

BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld thinks new rule changes for the impending 2009 season will have a positive effect and improve overtaking opportunities.

Drivers will have a kinetic energy recovery system (Kers) at their disposal, and slick tyres are back.

The German, 31, said: "Kers is good fun. Its main advantage is overtaking when you're up close behind someone."

Meanwhile, McLaren's Heiki Kovaleinan has predicted that 2009 may see some surprises but will be "very close".

"Lap times have dropped [because of the rule changes] so all the teams are going a bit slower," he told BBC Sport on Friday.

"I don't think we can see or say until we get to Melbourne and what is really happening. We might see some surprise so we should underestimate anyone.

This year our preparations [in testing] have been like a journey of discovery

Nick Heidfeld

"It's very difficult to say [what will happen this season]. It still will be very close, and if you just make one small mistake you will be out of the top 10."

While Heidfeld welcomes the fresh rule changes - which also include new dimensional regulations on the cars to dramatically reduce downforce - he does not expect an overnight revolution.

"I think the idea underpinning all the changes is the right one - the aim was to make overtaking easier," he told BMW Sauber's official website.

"I also think that the interplay of the various factors will have an effect here, if only to a certain degree,"

"F1 is not about to suddenly become like touring car racing.

Kovalainen expects 'very close' F1 season

"I'm pleased to see the return of slick tyres. I never liked the fact that, in F1 of all competitions, we didn't have slicks for such a long time.

"The effects of the noticeably reduced downforce on the cars' aerodynamics require an adjustment in driving style."

Heidfeld also said he has really enjoyed his team's preparations for the first race in Melbourne on 29 March and the season beyond.

"This year our preparations have been like a journey of discovery," he said.

"There are so many new things about the car which all of us have had to get to grips with, and that's a lot of fun."

Writing on his personal blog in mid-February after three days of testing in Bahrain, the former Jordan and Williams driver said that he anticipated greater overtaking opportunities for drivers.

"This week, I finally got a chance to actually tail another car," he said. "In Valencia, all the test runs were solo.

606: DEBATE

"I have the impression that the new aerodynamics are going to make it easier to close in on the driver ahead, just as we had hoped.

"This should certainly make overtaking a lot simpler. I'm hoping that this suspicion will be confirmed over the weeks to come."

Heidfeld, who made his F1 debut at the 2000 Australian Grand Prix, has finished second seven times in 152 races and notched 11 podium finishes - but is still without a win.

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see also
F1 ready for racing revolution
04 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Nick Heidfeld
02 Mar 09 |  Drivers & Teams
Heidfeld shines in damp Melbourne
01 Apr 06 |  Formula 1
Williams give Heidfeld his chance
31 Jan 05 |  Formula 1


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